An anchor when CNN went on the air in 1980, Lou Waters remained one of the network’s primary anchors until September 2001, adding to a journalism career spanning nearly 40 years.
At CNN, Lou Waters co-anchored CNN Today, a daily program of news from 1-3 PM, with Natalie Allen. Additionally, he co-anchored Early Prime and hosted special editions, including Coming of Age, a series on aging in American society. Lou Waters spoke to expert scientists and people of all ages about their views on aging for this series.
Lou Waters covered the closing days of NATO’s assault on Kosovo and was first to report from Macedonia that Serb military had agreed to withdraw from Kosovo. In 1994, Waters traveled to France and England to prepare a series of reports on the 50th anniversary of the allied invasion of Normandy. He interviewed allied survivors of the invasion, adding depth and perspective to CNN’s week-long coverage of D-Day.
Lou Waters was also active in CNN political coverage, having participated in each of the Republican and Democratic National conventions since 1980.
Lou Waters was particularly adept at reporting breaking news. He anchored several hours of award-winning coverage of the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1987. In 1989, Lou Waters was in the anchor chair when a powerful earthquake struck San Francisco. He covered the initial hours from CNN’s Atlanta headquarters before boarding the first jet allowed to land in the Bay area after the quake. There, Lou Waters continued reporting from the streets of San FranciscoBa place he once called home.
The recipient of many awards, Lou Waters received three Houston International Film Festival awards and a first-place news award at the New York Film Festival for his extensive political coverage in 1988. In addition, he won a CableACE award for Inside Politics ’88. Lou Waters received three Golden Microphone awards as news director and anchor at KCST-TV, San Diego (now KNSD-TV). His coverage of a 1979 plane crash for CBS won an Emmy Award for spot news reporting.
Lou Waters grew up in Minneapolis, attending the University of Minnesota School of Architecture. He discovered campus radio and for 13 years built a foundation for his TV career with radio jobs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Buffalo.
After a string of television reporting jobs on the west coast in the early ’70s, Lou Waters became a news directorBfirst in San Diego, then in Tuscon, where he was spotted first by CBS, then by ABC. He accepted CNN’s offer in February 1980.